In history books, I remember reading about various revivals; even in the Catholic Church, revival preachers are known to have visited parishes to revitalize the community, calling for a renewal of their spiritual lives. In our diocese and throughout the U.S., a three-year National Eucharistic Revival has just begun with the goal of revitalizing our parishes and communities in a new way.
If we were to Google “revival,” we may find an Oxford Dictionary definition like “an improvement in the condition or strength of something.” A spiritual revival is an initiative to improve our spiritual condition and strength. Certainly for myself and any of us, it is easy to settle into what is easy or most comfortable in life, which includes our spiritual lives. I have found through retreats, days of recollection or educational opportunities that revival can become a “spark” to light a good fire of new initiative and engagement in the spiritual life.
The goal of the Eucharistic Revival is to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist, and by this to inspire a movement of Catholics across the United States who are healed, converted, formed and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist—and who are then sent out on mission “for the life of the world.”
From my perspective as bishop of our own diocese, it is my hope that the revival will be an opportunity for Catholics and others to learn more about the Eucharist, take time to prayerfully ponder the incredible gift it is, spend time at weekly, and perhaps even daily, Mass participating in the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and taking time to pray before the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I find when I fall more deeply in love with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament I am able to receive God’s insights, inspirations and encouragements and sort through with him what he desires for me in my ministry as bishop.
I have found a daily hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament extremely helpful as a seminarian, priest and bishop. I only wished I would have appreciated and committed to it earlier in my life as a layman working in the world.
To give you a sense of how a Holy Hour can impact people, I am often inspired when I ask junior high and high school students how they liked D-camp. Even though they have a lot of different opportunities for outside games, talks, conversations with friends and campers and just hanging out, the most common response I hear to the question “What was your favorite part?” is “adoration.” Now that says a lot about our youth and God!
God has a way to speak in the silence when we give our attention to him in adoration that no other activity seems to do on these fun weeks for the youth. The same is true for people of various ages, just being with the Lord and letting him love us as we relate to him our joys, struggles, hopes, disappointments, worries, etc. That is because he loves us that much and desires us to simply receive his love and lead us to healthy, happy and holy lives, regardless of our age, vocation or circumstance of life.
I hope in this edition of The Bishop’s Bulletin, you find inspiration to draw closer to our eucharistic Lord and revitalize your own spirit, and I hope you will join me in a daily, or at least weekly, time of adoration before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.